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'Report', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in City of York, Volume 5: Central (1981), pp. XXV-XXX. URL: Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


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Report to The Queen's Most Excellent Majesty

May it Please Your Majesty

We, the undersigned Commissioners appointed to make an Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions connected with or illustrative of the contemporary culture, civilisation and conditions of life of the people of England from the earliest times to the year 1714, and such further Monuments and Constructions subsequent to that year as may seem in our discretion to be worthy of mention therein, and to specify those which seem most worthy of preservation, do humbly submit to Your Majesty the following Report, being the thirty-seventh Report on the Work of the Commission since its first appointment.

2. We thank Your Majesty for the appointment to the Commission of Dr. Peter Kidson, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

3. We have pleasure in reporting the completion of our recording of the monuments in the central area of York lying within the city walls and east of the River Ouse, an area containing 539 monuments.

4. Following our usual practice we have prepared a full, illustrated Inventory of the monuments in the centre of the city, which will be issued as the City of York v. As in other recent Inventories, the Commissioners have adopted the terminal date of 1850.

5. The methods adopted in previous Inventories have in general been followed. This Inventory covers the historic core of the city, including many buildings of great historical and architectural interest and many streets of outstanding importance.

6. Our thanks are due to incumbents and churchwardens and to owners and occupiers who have allowed access by our staff to the monuments in their charge or ownership. We are indebted to the York City Chief Architect, Mr. R. W. Horton, and his colleague Mr. D. Green; Mr. C.B.L. Barr, York Minster Sub-Librarian; Mrs. R. Green, York City Archivist; Mr. M. L. Smith of the York City Library; Dr. D. M. Smith, Director, Borthwick Institute, University of York; Mr. John Ingamells, formerly Curator, York City Art Gallery, and Mr. P. Gibson, Superintendent, York Glaziers' Trust, all of whom have constantly given assistance to our Investigators in their researches. Many architects have provided generous help, and especially Messrs. Brierley, Leckenby, Keighley and Groom; Messrs. Ferrey and Mennim; Messrs. Ward, Ruddick and Ward; Mr. Francis Johnson; Mr. John Miller; Mr. John Hutchinson and the late Mr. George G. Pace.

7. While our Inventories of York have been in preparation, the city has seen many improvements. As early as 1946 York City Council prepared plans for the restoration of the Shambles, and though the work could not be begun until some time later the Council demonstrated their awareness of the pressures of post-war redevelopment and their intention to preserve historic York. York was quick to take advantage of Government legislation which provided financial and legal support for environmental improvements: in 1966 a Town Scheme was introduced to assist the owners of historic buildings; in 1968 Conservation Areas were designated and in the same year 'York. A Study in Conservation' by Viscount Esher was published, being one of four reports on historic towns commissioned in 1966 jointly by the Minister of Housing and Local Government and the City and County Councils concerned. The York Civic Trust in its handsome Annual Reports has for many years drawn attention to buildings in need of attention, encouraged all endeavours to improve the environment, and given effect to its principles by purchasing and restoring important historic buildings within the city, including No. 111 Walmgate (537), Nos. 17, 19 Aldwark (61) and Peasholme House (417), which come within the area of this survey.

The results of the researches of our York staff have been made available to the Local Authority in forwarding all the above-mentioned works and they contributed much to the historical knowledge contained in the Esher Report. Our staff have also given much expert advice to the York Civic Trust, to the York Georgian Society and to other amenity bodies.

8. We humbly submit to Your Majesty's notice the following recommendations for the preservation of monuments in York. In view of the great historical and architectural value of the mediaeval central area of the City of York as a whole we believe that the entire area should be regarded with special consideration for conservation purposes. Within that area, certain streets have either buildings of outstanding merit or contain groups of buildings, the destruction of any of which would reflect adversely on the whole. Individual buildings in these streets have not therefore been enumerated; instead the entire streets are named at the end of the list below.

The following buildings are especially worthy of preservation:


(1) All Saints, Pavement, mainly of the 14th century.

(2) Holy Trinity, Goodramgate, mainly of the 14th and 15th centuries; the interior little altered since the 18th century.

(5) St. Cuthbert, Peasholme Green, mainly 15th-century.

(6) St. Denys, Walmgate, partly of the 14th and 15th centuries; notable 12th-century doorway reset.

(8) St. Helen, retains little mediaeval structure, but its W. front with late 19th-century stone lantern is of visual importance.

(10) St. Martin, Coney Street, 15th-century remains of a church partly destroyed in 1942.

(11) St. Mary, Castlegate, of pre-Conquest origin but much altered and enlarged later in the Middle Ages.

(12) St. Michael-le-Belfrey, an almost complete building of the mid 16th century.

(13) St. Michael, Spurriergate, of the 12th, 14th and 15th centuries.


(33) Bedern Hall, a 14th-century structure with a fine scissor-truss roof, and of considerable historical interest, but requiring a major scheme of restoration.

(34) St. William's College, a college of priests, built round a courtyard, 15th-century.

(35) The Treasurer's House and Gray's Court, a large house principally of the 17th century with fine 18th-century fittings, incorporating a wall of a 12th-century house.

(36) Guildhall, an aisled hall built c. 1449–60, greatly damaged by bombing in 1942 but rebuilt after the war. The rooms at the W. end remain undamaged.

(37) Merchant Adventurers' Hall, built in 1358–61, with hospital below and guild hall above, incorporating the earliest known brickwork in York; early 15th-century chapel with late 17th-century fittings.

(38) Merchant Taylors' Hall, built c. 1400 as a large timber-framed ground-floor hall; partly refaced in brick in the 18th century. Almshouse of 1730.

(39) St. Anthony's Hall, built c. 1453 as a guild hall with hospital below, having walls partly of stone and partly timber-framed, the latter replaced by brick in 1656; fine crown-post and arch-braced roofs.

(40) St. Leonard's Hospital, ruinous remains of one of the largest mediaeval hospitals in England, 13th-century.

(44) Mansion House, St. Helen's Square, 1726–32, an imposing Palladian building in a visually important position.

(45) Assembly Rooms, 1730–5, by Lord Burlington, the principal room based on Palladio's 'Egyptian Hall' design. Refronted by J. P. Pritchett, 1828.

(48) De Grey Rooms, St. Leonard's Place, 1841–2, with simple stuccoed facade of elegant charm.

(50) Foss Bridge, 1811, by Peter Atkinson junior.


(61) Oliver Sheldon House, Nos. 17, 19 Aldwark, a large brick house of c. 1720 incorporating earlier work, including a plaster ceiling of the early 17th century.

(77) No. 18 Blake Street, 1789, designed by John Carr's partner Peter Atkinson senior; a good example of a well-proportioned house of the period.

(82) Fairfax House, No. 27 Castlegate, built for Lord Fairfax by John Carr, with outstanding interior fittings; completed 1762.

(89) Castlegate House, No. 26 Castlegate, 1762–3, a well-preserved town house designed by John Carr.

(117) Nos. 18, 19 Colliergate, a house of 1748; despite conversion of the ground floor to shop premises, much of the facade remains; the original fittings of the saloon are in situ.

(130) Nos. 16–22 Coney Street, three 15th-century timber-framed houses.

(151) Nos. 28, 30, 32 Coppergate, a large 15th-century timber-framed house of unusual plan, with first-floor open hall.

(156) The Red House, Duncombe Place, an early 18th-century house built as a town residence for Sir William Robinson, Lord Mayor in 1700 and M.P. for the city 1697–1722. The building occupies a very prominent site.

(233, 234) Nos. 11–14 High Ousegate, two pairs of large early 18th-century houses with ambitious facades in the baroque manner.

(249) Cumberland House, No. 9 King's Staith, a stately early 18th-century house in a prominent position on the waterfront; containing fine fittings of the period.

(250) Judge's Lodging, No. 9 Lendal, one of the most unusual and interesting early Georgian houses; set back from the thoroughfare in its own grounds.

(254) Nos. 10, 12, 14 Lendal, an important pair of early Georgian houses, with some good interior fittings.

(285) Midland Bank, No. 1 Nessgate, 1839, designed by J. B. and W. Atkinson.

(287) Cumberland Row, Nos. 3–9 New Street, a terrace of four houses built in 1746; with excellent interior fittings.

(307) Building in Patrick Pool, a well-preserved late timber-framed structure of doubtful purpose.

(311) Herbert House, Nos. 12, 14 Pavement, and attached buildings facing Lady Peckett's Yard, important late timber-framed and early brick buildings.

(317) The Black Swan, p.h., Peasholme Green, a timber-framed house built for Sir Martin Bowes in the 16th century; important both visually and architecturally, with many late 17th-century interior fittings.

(395) Nos. 1–9 St. Leonard's Place, the only example of a Regency stuccoed terrace in York.

(417) Peasholme House, St. Saviour's Place, c. 1752, a well-proportioned house, set back from the thoroughfare; recently restored by the York Civic Trust.

(516) Nos. 68, 70 Walmgate, an early 18th-century house containing some original fittings.

(528) No. 25 Walmgate, a late 17th-century brick house.

(536) No. 77 Walmgate, a late 16th-century house; one of the few timber-framed buildings in this part of the city.

(537) Bowes Morrell House, No. 111 Walmgate, a timber-framed house built c. 1400, with one-bay open hall.

The preservation of the following streets is thought to be of paramount importance:

Chapter House Street, a short cobbled lane, bounded by the walls and entrance of the Treasurer's House and small houses, and terminated visually by the Minster choir and chapter house to the S.W.

College Street, at the eastern end of the Minster and an essential part of its precinct; entered from Goodramgate by the last surviving gateway into the precinct. The fine stone and timber-framed St. William's College, with adjacent brick cottages, gives scale to the massive E. end of the Minster.

Goodramgate, a meandering thoroughfare, remains one of the most attractive streets in York, despite some modern intrusions; it contains timber-framed buildings of importance, such as Lady Row (222) built in 1316, which has the framing plastered, and Nos. 41–45 (193) and 47–51 (194), of the 15th century, where the timber is exposed; in scale, texture and colour they complement the red and brown brick Georgian houses in an urban group of high scenic value. Retention as a whole is strongly recommended.

Minster Gates, a short alleyway linking Stonegate with Minster Yard, lined with brick buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries with good shop fronts, and making a fine frame for the Minster S. transept beyond.

Minster Yard, including Minster Court, an essential part of the Minster precinct.

Newgate, bounding the open market, having a row of early timber-framed buildings.

Petergate, High and Low. High Petergate, entered from Bootham Bar, one of the city gateways, is one of the few streets in York where the mediaeval street-line has survived. It is lined with brick buildings of mostly Georgian date and extends as far as Stone-gate, with a break at Duncombe Place. Low Petergate is one of the most impressive streets in the city, with many 17th-century or earlier gabled and timber-framed houses and early and late Georgian houses. Though most have had shop fronts inserted, many of these are good examples of late Georgian and early Victorian times and few are offensive.

Precentor's Court, a quiet lane opposite the W. end of the Minster, lined by early 18th-century small houses terminated by the well-proportioned Fenton House (377).

Shambles, one of England's most famous mediaeval streets, has gabled timber-framed houses with adjacent plainer Georgian fronts to set them off. Most have been well restored.

Saint Saviourgate, with many good Georgian houses, the Unitarian Chapel, 1692, the Centenary Chapel, 1840, and the Tudor-style Lady Hewley's Hospital, all contributing to a pleasing group. Despite the intrusion of some unsympathetic modern buildings, considerable progress has been made in the restoration of many of the houses.

Stonegate displays buildings of all periods from mediaeval to Victorian and of materials ranging from timber framing to brick and plaster for the later buildings. Despite the disparity in dates and materials, the consistency of scale throughout gives a unifying quality to the whole. There are many good shop fronts.

9. This Inventory has been prepared by our Investigators, Messrs. J. E. Williams, E.R.D., A.R.C.A., F.S.A., D. W. Black, B.A., F.S.A., T. W. French, M.A., F.S.A., I. R. Pattison, B.A., F.S.A., Dr. E. A. Gee, M.A., F.S.A., F.R.HIST.S., Mrs. S. E. Ault, B.A., and Mr. I. H. Goodall, B.A., assisted by Dr. R. M. Butler, M.A., F.S.A., and Dr. B. E. A. Jones, with photographs taken by Messrs. T. H. E. Buchanan, C. J. Bassham, and W. C. Light. Drawings are mostly by Mr. A. R. Whittaker. Mrs. J. Bryant has greatly assisted the editorial work throughout.

10. We desire to add that our Secretary and General Editor, Mr. R. W. McDowall, C.B.E., M.A., F.S.A., has afforded constant assistance to us Your Commissioners.

11. We desire also to put on record our regret at the death of Mr. J. E. Williams and our appreciation of his services to the Commission.

12. The final Inventory of the Monuments of the City of York will be devoted to the Minster.


Adeane (Chairman)


A. J. Taylor

W. F. Grimes

S. S. Frere

R. J. C. Atkinson

H. M. Taylor

G. Zarnecki

J. K. S. St Joseph

Paul Ashbee

A. R. Dufty

M. Girouard

C. N. L. Brooke

A. C. Renfrew

I. J. Thirsk

P. Kidson

R. W. McDowall (Secretary)